Two P.A. students celebrate with one holding up oath and hugging a fellow student

Future physician assistants take oath of practice

  • I will hold as my primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings.
  • I will treat equally all persons who seek my care.
  • I will use my knowledge and experience to contribute to an improved community.

With those tenets — and a bit more — 60 future physician assistants (P.A.s) from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis marked their transition into the profession with the recitation of the Physician Assistant Professional Oath.

“Moving from becoming a successful — and good — P.A. to a great P.A. is up to you,” Teresa Thetford, director for the Master of Health Services — Physician Assistant Degree Program, told students and their supporters who gathered at the Sept. 9 event. “Although a strong medical knowledge base is an important part of being a competent and safe P.A., always keep in mind that it will be your empathy, your communication skills, your cultural competency and humility, your integrity and the service to your patients and your community that will make you a really great P.A.”

Having completed their final comprehensive exams, the Class of 2022 gathered for the last time as a group in Betty Irene Moore Hall, where they had spent about two years studying, to mark the formal transition from student to health care professional. By taking the oath, the graduates pledged to put the health, safety and privacy of patients first and adhere to a professional code of ethics.

“I just wanted to point out that you have all been doing this and living the P.A. Oath, consciously or not, since your very first day of the program,” said Jordanna Rosselli, an alumna of the master’s degree program. “I know that as a direct result of that, each and every one of you will be strong, adaptive professionals who will persevere through all the challenges you will inevitably face as dedicated, well-trained primary health care providers.”

P.A.s are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, P.A.s conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery and write prescriptions. Within the physician-P.A. relationship, the P.A. exercises autonomy in medical-decision making and provides a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services.

study in The New England Journal of Medicine predicts the number of practicing rural physicians to fall by about a quarter by 2030. Industry experts believe that adding more P.A.s to underserved areas will help more patients gain access to high-quality care more quickly.

After 27 months of classroom discussions, skills lab instruction and hundreds of hours of clinical rotations, the graduates are ready to take their licensing exam.

“Lucky for us here at UC Davis, we can now call you alumni and brag on all the wonderful things you’re doing out in the world to fulfill our vision of optimal health and health equity for everyone,” said Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the Betty Irene Moore  School of Nursing.

Family, friends and supporters attended the event while others watched on Facebook.